I journeyed from Sydney to Cairns today, courtesy of Quantas Airlines. It's a 2.5 hour flight, puctuated with a hot breakfast (did you read that United, American USAirways, and Delta?), and a light snack. I felt like I was flying in the 80s.
I arrived in Cairns (prounounced Cans) mid-day, and discovered what happens with a 50-year old guy who normally gets 8 hours of sleep a night, gets 5 to 6 for -- say -- 6 straight nights. Keeping with today's theme, I'll call it "transitioning." It involves sitting in the sun for about an hour, going back to your hotel room and losing consciousness for about three hours. In the immortal words of Billy Crystal in City Slickers, "I'm on vacaaaaaaaaaaa-shuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun."
Cairns is a city of about 200,000 on the norther tip of the Australian continent. I'm struck by the natural beauty of the mountains meeting the waters of the Coral ocean. I'll see lots more of that tomorrow on my Great Barrier Reef Tour. Cairns is also home to the the world's longest cable suspension lift, over the rain forrest. Hoping I can work that in Monday morning, but timing doesn't look good for that.
It's a charming small town from what I can see of it. I will say it is significantly more laid back than most metropolitan cities. Translation: jeez it takes these people forever to take your dinner order. Okay, it's the ugly American coming out for just a moment, but I only got 3 hours of sleep back, and woke up with raging hunger and thirst. I did refrain from showing any histrionics.
It's a beautiful place and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it tomorrow, sharks and all.